VIP Cuddly bears in the hot seat as Chorley embroidery factory is opened by the Speaker of the House of Commons

Having one of your cuddly bears in the hands of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is a sign that you have might just be doing okay as a business.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 9:31 am

When Nancy Pelosi, scourge of former US president Donald Trump, came to the UK for the recent G7 Speakers’ Summit at Astley Hall in Chorley, she was gifted the cuddly memento by That’s Mine, a Chorley company that specialises in embroidered, personalised gifts.

Parliamentary Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and his wife Lady Catherine also got one each to mark the historic summit.

And their’s showed some bear-faced cheek by somehow finding their way to the famous Speaker’s Chair in the Palace of Westminster.

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Elaine and Paul Cribb, founders of Chorley-based That's Mine, with the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and Lady Catherine Hoyle who officially opened the embroidery company's new factory

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That’s Mine was originally founded 20 years ago, by textiles specialist Elaine Cribb, who had worked as a designer for the likes of Chortex and The Design Company.

Husband Paul left his career as a retail area manager to join the firm six years ago and the pair ramped up the online e-commerce business, beefing up the website and social media operation and growing the customer base.

When coronavirus struck, the pair felt a need to do something to help their community.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle with one of the personalised bears

So, they created the “Stay Safe” bunny to support the NHS. Using social media, the embroidered bunny went viral. Paul and Elaine were extremely proud of the success of their Stay Safe campaign and made a donation to The Children’s Appeal at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

With the rapid growth of the business, staying at home made it hard to cope with the demand thanks to Covid restrictions.

Therefore, at a time when people were encouraged to work at home, That’s mine did the opposite. With the help of The Chorley BIG grant and The Lancashire County Council Boost grant, they were able to move into a unit on Buckshaw Village during March. That’s mine now employs seven local people, all family and friends.

The official opening last week saw Sir Lindsay and his wife pop down to do the honours at a plaque unveiling ceremony.

Sir Lindsay and Lady Catharine's bears get to see what it is like to be the Speaker of the House of Commons

Sir Lindsay said: “When I heard that the house was taken over by boxes and you couldn’t move, where do you go from there? So, the bunny factory arrived!

“I wish I had known about you 30 years ago when I was looking for a company to embroider for me.

“You will be the envy of everyone in Congress and the Senate, with Nancy Pelosi showing off her teddy. What a success you have made of the business.”

Paul said: “Elaine studied textiles and has worked in the industry all her life. The last company she worked for she was design director and dealt with the likes of Mothercare, Early Learning Centre John Lewis Harrods, all nursery textiles. But she wanted to set up her own business.

The That's Mine team have donated to support the NHS

“When I joined, we relaunched it with a website and social media presence. When it started it was all leaflets and house parties, there was nothing like there is today.

“We really pushed it and it was too big to be running from home so we had to get a factory. Inside we built a mezzanine floor and moved in during March and had the official opening on Friday.

“It is personalised embroidery for blankets soft toys, bathrobes bibs, muslins and baby gift sets.

“The majority of the business is for babies and toddlers. We work with major brands, top quality, from around the world and we add personalised embroidery to the brands.

“We are a close-knit team, all neighbours, and its a fun environment to work in.”

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The That's Mine commemorative bears at Astley Hall for the Speakers' summit